The leader of Crawley Borough Council has told Sussex Police to "get a grip on the wave of drugs and violence affecting Crawley".
Peter Lamb took to social media the day after a 24-year-old man was stabbed in The Boulevard, and a couple of weeks after a manslaughter investigation was launched into the death of a pensioner who had been attacked in the same road.
When Sussex Police responded, outlining work being carried out with the National Crime Agency to combat organised crime, Mr Lamb said more officers were needed if any "real headway" was to be made.
He added: "We've highlighted to the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for years how that could be afforded within existing spending constraints.
"We're living with the consequences of that failure now."
When asked about Mr Lamb's comments, Sussex PCC Katy Bourne pointed out that, in January, the borough council's representative on the Police and Crime Panel had voted against increasing the amount of money given to police through the council tax precept.
Chief Inspector Rosie Ross said "proactive and robust" action was being taken to tackle serious violence in the town, including an increase in patrols in crime hotspots.
She added: "The violence is obviously distressing but I can assure local people that we are doing all we can, taking targeted action to help keep them safe."